Black Friday Sets New Records, More Consumers Go Mobile

According to separate research from Adobe and the National Retail Federation, Black Friday set new records for e-commerce with online sales surpassing $3 billion for the first time, while also marking the first day in U.S. retail history to experience more than $1 billion in sales made from mobile devices. Adobe reports $3.34 billion in total online sales, a 21.6 percent jump over last year, with mobile accounting for $1.2 billion, a 33 percent increase. And shoppers were thrifty this time around. While the NRF found that the number of shoppers increased over the weekend compared to 2015, average consumer spending dropped 3.5 percent, including online and offline purchases. Continue reading Black Friday Sets New Records, More Consumers Go Mobile

YouTube Introduces High Dynamic Range Support for Videos

YouTube is rolling out HDR support for videos that offer improved picture quality, higher contrast and more vibrant colors. The launch is limited, since HDR is still entering the mainstream, but the video-sharing site is preparing for its future. TechCrunch reports, “if you happen to own an HDR-enabled TV today, you can view HDR content on select YouTube channels going live with the enhanced content, like MysteryGuitarMan, Jacob + Katie Schwarz, and Abandon Visuals.” HDR videos can also be streamed “through Google’s newer Chromecast Ultra device, which debuted earlier this fall with 4K and HDR support.” Continue reading YouTube Introduces High Dynamic Range Support for Videos

Sony to Debut TVs Combining Best OLED and LCD Features

This summer, Sony will begin shipping the new Z television set series, redesigned from the ground up to combine the best technical features of both LCD and OLED sets. Whereas OLED TVs can show a true pitch-black, they can’t match the brightness of LED-backlit LCD TVs. With the advent of high dynamic range (HDR), TV sets need both the control of individual pixels provided by OLEDs and the brightness of LCDs. Sony achieves that by adding more LEDs in its backlight and focusing their beams for less light leakage. Continue reading Sony to Debut TVs Combining Best OLED and LCD Features

Microsoft Debuts Xbox One S, Project Scorpio to Soon Follow

On August 2, Microsoft’s Xbox One S will be available for $399. The new console is 40 percent smaller than the Xbox One, offers a tidy built-in power supply, and is capable of standing vertically, a throwback to older Xboxes. The Xbox One S is also more powerful, with a faster processor that, for the first time, provides 4K video for streaming Netflix and Amazon Video, and high dynamic range (HDR), as well as the ability to play Ultra HD Blu-ray discs. But only users with 4K TV sets will be able to see the difference. Continue reading Microsoft Debuts Xbox One S, Project Scorpio to Soon Follow

DirecTV Set to Deliver First-Ever 4K UHD MLB Game April 15

Although Super Bowl 50 was broadcast only in HD, now media outlets are beginning to deliver live sports in 4K Ultra HD. AT&T’s DirecTV says it plans to deliver as many as 25 MLB Network games live in the new format this year, although its 4K Ultra HD will not feature high dynamic range (HDR). Sony reports it just accomplished a 4K Ultra HD (with HDR) test broadcast on a February 10 soccer match between Mexico and Senegal, in Miami’s Marlin Park. Last year, about 6.3 million UHD TV sets shipped in North America. Continue reading DirecTV Set to Deliver First-Ever 4K UHD MLB Game April 15

ATSC 3.0: NAB Calls on FCC to Authorize Next Generation TV

In a 21-page petition, a group comprised of the NAB, America’s Public Television Stations, the Consumer Technology Association and the AWARN Alliance is asking the FCC to authorize use of the new ATSC 3.0 transmission standard — what the collective refers to as “Next Generation TV” — in order to improve delivery of 4K broadcasting, streaming to smartphones and tablets, personalization features and IP-based services. ATSC 3.0 “will create the bedrock for continuing innovation by the television industry for decades to come,” claims the petition. Continue reading ATSC 3.0: NAB Calls on FCC to Authorize Next Generation TV

CTA: 170,000 Attendees Gather in Las Vegas for CES 2016

According to CES producer the Consumer Technology Association (CTA), this year’s confab drew more than 170,000 industry professionals to Las Vegas. The show featured 3,800+ exhibitors covering 2.47 million square feet of exhibit space. Attendees represented over 150 nations and 100 delegations, including the first Cuban delegation. More than 6,000 media members attended this time around. The #CES2016 hashtag generated nearly 1.28 million mentions and CTA claims there were 15.2 billion potential social media impressions during CES week. Continue reading CTA: 170,000 Attendees Gather in Las Vegas for CES 2016

Snapshots of CES 2016 Reveal Leading Trends and Stories

CES 2016 had its share of attention-getting products, but some of the most interesting aspects of the show were under the horizon. Companies are beginning to recognize, understand, and explore new opportunities, implications and alliances. Among emerging trends: in VR, there will be real competition. Content on televisions — more than television hardware — drives the market, but demand for UHD is also growing. Big data is a big discussion about use, privacy and security. As ETC prepares its complete report on CES, we’ve compiled a slide show with some highlights. Continue reading Snapshots of CES 2016 Reveal Leading Trends and Stories

YouTube Announces HDR Video Support, GoPro Partnership

YouTube announced that it would join Netflix and Amazon in supporting high dynamic range technology for its video content. Robert Kyncl, YouTube’s chief business officer was on stage during CES with GoPro CEO Nick Woodman and Vrse CEO Chris Milk discussing 360-degree video when he mentioned the HDR news. YouTube also plans a partnership with GoPro to deliver more 360-degree content to its online platform. LG, Panasonic and Sony were among the manufacturers in Las Vegas promoting new HDR-compatible TVs. Continue reading YouTube Announces HDR Video Support, GoPro Partnership

Sony Announces 4K Video Storefront, Array of New Products

During the Sony keynote at CES, CEO Kazuo Hirai announced that the PlayStation 4 console system — which he suggests, “sets the benchmark in collaboration, artistry, imagery and design” — sold more than 5.7 million units over the holidays for a total of 35.9 million units since the console’s launch. PlayStation VR goggles will ship the first half of 2016, reportedly in the $300 range. Sony Electronics president and COO Mike Fasulo took the stage to announce “Ultra,” the company’s new video app that enables users to purchase and stream 4K movies on Sony’s Android TVs. Sony also unveiled a range of new cameras, 4K TVs, audio products and more. Continue reading Sony Announces 4K Video Storefront, Array of New Products

NAGRA Unveils intuiTV All-In-One Immersive TV Experience

NAGRA presented its new all-in-one TV experience called intuiTV at CES this week. The new television interface provides an intuitive, immersive and elegantly simple viewing experience in 4K Ultra HD and HD centered around making television more enjoyable for the consumer. NAGRA offers intuiTV to pay-TV operators as a managed cloud-based platform they can configure with a full line-up of premium content and advanced TV services including live TV, VOD, SVOD, PVR, social TV and more via an innovative streaming device and touchscreen remote control. Continue reading NAGRA Unveils intuiTV All-In-One Immersive TV Experience

Dolby Partners with Entertainment Companies on 4K Movies

Dolby Laboratories announced new deals with Sony Pictures, Universal Pictures and MGM to enhance their 4K movie releases. The Sony deal focuses on the upcoming releases of 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Discs with the Dolby Atmos sound technology. Sony has also agreed to work with Universal Pictures and MGM to release new and catalog titles with Dolby Vision technology, an HDR format that produces greater contrast on screen. The remastered movies will be available via streaming services. Continue reading Dolby Partners with Entertainment Companies on 4K Movies

4K UHD with High Dynamic Range Most Likely to Be Adopted

A conversation during CES about the future of 4K UHD TV quickly settled on a single point: 4K without HDR is not a winning proposition. “4K married with HDR will be adopted a lot faster than just plain 4K,” said Technicolor executive Mark Turner. “4K is a binary function: you either have 4K or you’re at 1080p. 4K hasn’t really fired passions in the creative community. HDR does, because then you have a wider color palette and have more detail in the shadows and more highlights.” But both 4K and HDR present challenges. Continue reading 4K UHD with High Dynamic Range Most Likely to Be Adopted

CES: Philips is Third Manufacturer to Unveil 4K Blu-ray Player

Philips has joined Panasonic and Samsung in announcing a 4K UHD Blu-ray player with support for high dynamic range. The BDP7501 offers upscaling for non-4K content and includes HDMI, Wi-Fi and Ethernet for connectivity. It also includes built-in support for HEVC and VP9 codecs, which should make it ideal for streaming 4K content from services such as Netflix and YouTube. What may set it apart from early competition, however, is its unique compact design, more akin to a set-top box than a standard disc player. The BDP7501 is expected to ship this spring for under $400. Continue reading CES: Philips is Third Manufacturer to Unveil 4K Blu-ray Player

Samsung’s New 4K TV Features Built-In Smart Home Controls

The remote for Samsung’s new flagship television set, currently on display at CES, does much more than change the channels. This TV doubles as a central smart home hub to control the house’s smart devices. With the KS9500 model of the SUHD TV set, users can adjust the lighting, watch the baby monitor, and even create “mood schemes” with a group of smart devices. Samsung also partnered with PlayStation Now and GameFly to get video games on the TV without the need for a separate console. Continue reading Samsung’s New 4K TV Features Built-In Smart Home Controls

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